Good Morning Wednesfield! 21st April – Fine Day!

Its Tuesday 21st April, and we have another fine day weather-wise ahead of us! But of course, we already know that this day like all the past days in March and April will be an enormous challenge to individuals here in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton and further afield.

Corona Virus dominates my days and nights, as it does everyone else’s! Here are the latest stats.
• 124,743 UK Cases
• 4,676 Number of (UK) New cases reported
• 16,509 Deaths of patients in Hospital
• 449 Number of New Deaths Reported
• Wolverhampton Cases 581(+23)
• 207(+5) Deaths at Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

The topic of the day. This is what is leading this morning with reports from the LGiU on what is making the News in the Countries Press.
Whilst we are all glued to our TV screens watching the terrible dramas of the hospital battles to save lives. The gaze of the public is now switching to the Care Homes and what is happening in our Care system.
Its reported that soaring cost of PPE could bankrupt care homes – Nadra Ahmed, head of the National Care Association, has warned that the soaring cost of personal protective equipment could bankrupt care homes across the country, with some homes already having to spend more than £8,500 a week on keeping their staff and residents safe, on top of other costs such as extra staffing. “The irony is that some of these issues,” she says, “could be resolved with just a few simple steps such as allowing VAT exemption for care homes and also stopping all PPE being diverted to the NHS. We understand why it is needed within the NHS, but we are part of the healthcare sector and our staff and residents need protecting.” Elsewhere, the Guardian reports that major care home operators have reported steep rises in deaths and infections – Care UK, which operates 122 homes, has seen a 65% increase in deaths over four days, while Four Seasons Health Care, which operates 190 homes, saw a 60% increase in fatalities over six days. Both have reported infections in two thirds or more of their homes.

Yesterday during a very interesting first ‘Virtual Labour Group‘ meeting when some 40 Councillors took part. The cost of this battle with Corona Virus was upper most in our minds.

This morning we start to see what the costs of this battle is doing to Local Authority budgets. City of Wolverhampton is going through the same steps that others such as Leeds are doing. This is what the newspapers report on Leeds.

Leeds faces £130m cost of COVID-19 – Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, has said the city is facing an estimated shortfall of £130m to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, taking into account lost income from rates and car parking fees, and additional service provision to help deal with the crisis. So far, she has said, the council has received £22m in support from the Government, although further funding has now been announced by Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick. Cllr Blake said: “While we welcome the extra £1.6bn for local government, we recognise this is part of the journey we are on, and this is not going to cover the cost of the COVID-19 crisis.” She said the council was set to lose around £102m of income, while an extra £8.3m of spending on adult social care will be needed as a result of the crisis, along with £10.6m for children’s social care.

Yesterday I went on an hour walk through Wednesfield North, it was the first time that I have done such a walk since Lock Down began. It was great to get out and see the Ward. I also spotted things that pleased me, such as the Remembrance Bench that Rita, Mary and I, instigated by using our Ward funds. Having one of these benches placed on the Coppice Farm Walkways, and the other Bench placed in the Ashmore Park, Plus some that annoyed me.
Yesterday I gave some reports on that on my ‘Cllr Phil Bateman MBE ’Facebook site. I will be adding to that later today. All three of Your City Councillors Rita Potter, Mary and of course me! Are working so hard on your behalf. We may not be as visible as we all are normally. But we are doing our job. Still helping people!

Have a great day and follow the Government health advice. Wash your hands and keep your distance Wednesfield North!

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more